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Sacred geography – Picts – Round tower 02



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


Brechin is a town and former royal burgh in Angus, Scotland. On the outskirts of Brechin, beside the A90 dual carriageway which bypassed it in 1976, is [or was] the Pictavia Visitors Centre (covering Pictish culture and displaying several carved stones)

The town is well known for its cathedral, which has within its grounds a round tower, one of only two of these monuments surviving in Scotland (the other is at Abernethy, Perthshire). The tower was originally free-standing, but is now incorporated in the framework of the cathedral, it thus precedes the cathedral in date.

The Irish round towers were constructed by monks towards the end of the great period of monastic expansion, between the fifth and the seventh centuries. When they were built they would have been the only stone structures in the monastery. Today 25 or more towers stand upright in perfect form, and the remains, or stubs, of another 43 dot the countryside.  Thus there is the real possibility that this round tower is a great deal older than the local inhabitants realise.  This view is reinforced by the fact that the so-called 'Brechin hogback stone', found in the churchyard, combines Celtic/Pictish and Scandinavian motifs, and is the most complex known stone sculpture in the Ringerike style in Scotland.  


The tower is 86 ft.(26.21 m) high, has at the base a circumference of 50 ft.(15.3 m) and a diameter of 16 ft.(4.9 m), and is capped with a hexagonal spire of 18 ft.(5.5 m), added in the 14th century.  The importance of the tower to the culture that built it can be judged by the quality of the masonry, which is superior to all but a very few of the Irish examples. The narrow single doorway, raised some feet above ground level in a manner common in these buildings, is also exceptionally fine. The door-surround is enriched with two bands of pellets, and the monolithic arch has a well-preserved representation of a cross. The slightly splayed sides of the doorway (also monolithic) have sculptures too eroded to make them generally capable of interpretation. 

We do not know whether Brechin was a tower used with sound, or to generate sound or to concentrate existing energy. 

Round towers in general may be found on telluric hot spots or they use the sun and cosmic radiation instead of sound.  Professor Callahan found that all the round towers he investigated were made of paramagnetic stone: that is stone that resonates positively in a magnetic field. But they also had dielectric (insulative) properties, they are able to store incoming cosmic electromagnetic/magnetic energy. 

In an experiment using a model of the Turlough round tower, it was soaked in a diamagnetic solution of Epsom salts and then allowed to dry naturally. Thin force lines spaced evenly at one millimetre appeared up the tower. On the conical roof at the top the force line spiralled up to the point. At certain heights up the tower the force lines became much thicker bands. These correlated precisely with the floor levels in the actual tower.  So we know Brechin Round Tower was a sacred site, but we don't know how it worked - sound, or radiation.

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Concepts, symbols and science items


Activities and commonsteps